The Frost Experiential Music Curriculum is a four year, hands-on, interactive approach to music making at the undergraduate level that replaces the traditional, performance-only rote-teaching style and large lecture classes that are so prevalent at conservatories and other institutions of higher education.
At the Frost School of Music, the old methodologies are gone and have been replaced by the Experiential Music Curriculum.
The Experiential Music Curriculum (EMC) is a new and fresh approach created by the faculty of the Frost School of Music that trains ‘internal musicians’ rather than rote-learners by using a carefully planned and tested program that fully integrates performance, music history, ear training, music theory and composition altogether in six hours of weekly chamber music and small group hands-on sessions. The results are immediate and impressive: students in the Experiential Music Curriculum very quickly and readily hear, perform and understand music of varying styles in historical and contemporary contexts; read musical scores and hear the music in their minds; perform in ensembles of all sizes and genres where they understand the underlying theory and performance practices; collaborate and learn to compose in varying styles so they will be able to draw upon that important ability throughout their careers. These internalized musical skills are then further amplified and applied when students participate in their larger ensembles; rehearsals are more productive and performances are even more informed and inspired.
In addition, Dean Shelton Berg and the Experiential Music Curriculum faculty committee, headed by music theory professor Paul Wilson, also recognized that while there are ever-expanding employment opportunities for musicians today, the pathways to those opportunities are more diffuse and require young musicians to be much more entrepreneurial and musically flexible than past generations. Therefore, the Experiential Music Curriculum also requires every student to take a full year of music technology classes in which they learn advanced music notation, music sequencing and hard-disk recording techniques on their own laptops. They are also required to take a year of music business classes where they learn how to negotiate contracts, set up a business, and market their musical skills in a new-media environment.
All freshman music students at the Frost School of Music are enrolled in the Experiential Music Curriculum from day one, regardless of major. This inclusive approach sets up an incredible networking opportunity to interact with hundreds of peers whose diverse interests strengthen the music making process. In short, the Experiential Music Curriculum ignites the spark of ingenuity that occurs when musicians from all backgrounds and stylistic interests come together to make great music. When students graduate, they will do so as internal musicians and will impact the musical profession with deep understanding and musical skills in ways we can only dream about today.